This is Part Two in a three-post series on the social content curation site Pinterest.
With 10.4 million registered users, Pinterest officially became the fastest growing website ever last week.
Still in its beta phase, the site now takes a backseat only to Facebook and Tumblr when it comes to how much time people are spending on it.
And while Wall Street Journal reports the 16-staff start-up has yet to figure out a revenue model aside from affiliate marketing, more and more nonprofits are turning their attention to Pinterest.
That’s because nonprofits go where the donors are, and Pinterest’s core user group — upper-income women from the American Midwest between the ages of 18 and 34 — matches the target demographic of a large portion of nonprofits.
1. Thrift Stores
This is a no-brainer. Many nonprofits like The Salvation Army, Canadian Diabetes Association and MCC run, or partner with, social-enterprise thrift stores that provide employment-training for people who need it while raising funds for their cause.
These shops are filled with retro-chic, vintage, weird, crazy, funky clothes and furniture — exactly the kind of things fashion-savvy DIY-folks are pinning and re-pinning rampantly.
While not a nonprofit, Thrift Town is an excellent example of what thrift shops should be doing on Pinterest.
2. Children’s Charities
There’s really nothing quite like the smile of a child — especially when you know your donations are helping improve the life of that child.
Whether you run an after-school lunch program, a daycare or school for disadvantage kids, an orphanage or summer camps, showing donors how their contribution is actually an investment in the future of somebody less fortunate is a sure way to connect their hearts to the cause.
Word of advice: focus on the positive outcomes (happy moments, success stories, etc.) instead of bleak images of suffering children.
Offering “visual evidence from 194 worldwide offices in support of children’s rights everywhere,” UNICEF is doing a great job with their Pinterest boards.
3. Animal Shelters
Who doesn’t love pictures of cute puppies and furry kittens? Animal shelters have so much potential on Pinterest because their story tells itself through pictures.
Posting pictures of dogs that are looking for a home, the Humane Society of New York is moving beyond storytelling and giving people a concrete way to be part of the story.
With boards like “Creative Pet Spaces” and “Treats From The Heart”, the Heritage Humane Society is tapping into the lifestyle and culture of pet owners.
4. Nature/Wildlife Conservation
You know that saying about not knowing what you have until it’s gone? The National Wildlife Federation is making sure people know what we have so our children won’t lose it in the future — and they’ve taken to Pinterest to show us the amazing wildlife.
Boards like “Keeping The Wild Alive” tell a breathtaking — sometimes humorous — tale of our animal friends, while the less-obvious “Nature How To’s” and “Science And Technology” give users practical tools to enjoy the great outdoors.
Ever wanted to build a bird feeder out of a milk jug?
5. Fair Trade
A lot of pinning happens around arts and crafts related project, chic decorations or quaint household items — often times a bit exotic and wonderfully weird.
Because every pin links back directly to a website, fair trade and artisan nonprofit organizations have massive opportunities on Pinterest because their target demographic is largely Pinterest’s core user group.